We Are the Champions

A Unique Perspective on His Survival

by Stroke Survivor and Comedian John Kawie

Bugle: Ba ba ba buppity ba buppity ba buh ba ba baaaaa. Ba ba buppity ba buppity buh buppity ba baaaaaaaaaa!

Bob Costas: Good morning! As you can tell by the shrill of that bugle playing “Reveille” another day has begun in the life of stroke survivor and American John Kawie.

Bedroom Commentator: This promises to be an exciting morning, Bob. John has already breezed through the Toothbrushing, Shaving, and Showering events, but you’re just in time because the Dressing event will be getting underway shortly. Bob, are you sure John is American? Stroke survivor I can see, but American? You might want to check your notes on that one.

Costas: It’s right here in black and white. The man is a U.S. citizen. But I can see your point: He doesn’t shop at Walmart, own a gun, or hate the French. Tell me, what obstacles has John overcome to create a human-interest factor for our broadcast?

Commentator: Well, he’s done numerous hell gigs across the United States, Pair-a-Dice Casino in Peoria being the worst. He ate a bad hotdog from a street vendor back in the ‘90s. Oh, did I mention the stroke left him hemiplegic?

Costas: Explain to our viewers what that means.

Commentator: It means that half his body is paralyzed. In this case, it’s John’s left half.

Costas: That can’t be fun. Any hemorrhoids?

Commentator: Not yet Bob, but stay tuned because he’s 68 years old, so there’s lots of bad stuff right around the corner.

Costas: Speaking of bad stuff, it’s time to pay the bills so here’s a word from our sponsor.

Announcer: Hi, we are a giant U.S. corporation with numerous subsidiaries. These offshore havens provide fantastic tax loopholes that save us billions. This money goes to our board of directors and CEO to support their lavish lifestyles. We also have to maintain our huge corporate 747. And let’s not forget, lobbyists don’t grow on trees. This is why you, the public, will continue to pay absurdly high prices for our products. Thank you.

Costas: No, thank you for my four facelifts. Now let’s go back to John’s bedroom and pick up the action.

Commentator: Just in time, Bob. Our viewers will get to witness what I consider the most exciting move of the Dressing event. The degree of difficulty is off the charts.

Costas: But it looks like he’s just lying on his bed.

Commentator: Don’t forget, John’s a 20-year stroke vet. The pros always make it look easy, but right now he’s pulling his pants up one-handed while using his bed as leverage. Look! Look! Did our viewers see that move?

Costas: It was so fast I almost missed it myself. Let’s go to instant replay. Yup, there it is. He pulled his pants up, zipped his fly and buckled his belt all in one move. Olympic material for sure. Does he always do it in that sequence?

Commentator: Always, Bob. You never buckle before you zip.

Costas: Now, let’s get a female stroke survivor’s perspective. Thanks for joining us, Yvonne. Could you explain to our viewers how the women’s event is different?

Yvonne: Two words, Bob: pantyhose and bra. I challenge any man to squeeze into what is essentially a sausage casing one-handed. Bra-wise, John, like most men, probably had a problem removing it one-handed. Well, just try putting one on!

Costas: Valid points. Well, we’re out of time, but don’t forget to tune in tomorrow to see how John handles the Cooking-Dinner event. It promises to be exciting.

DVDs of John’s award-winning one-man show, Brain Freeze, are available at Amazon.com. For booking information, contact John at jkawie@aol.com.

This information is provided as a resource to our readers. The tips, products or resources listed or linked to have not been reviewed or endorsed by the American Stroke Association.

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Stroke Rehabilitation

Making the Best Decisions at Discharge After Stroke

The type of rehabilitation and support systems a survivor receives at discharge can strongly influence health outcomes and recovery. In this, the first part of a two-part series on stroke rehab, we offer guidance for the decision-making process required when it’s time to leave the hospital.

What to Expect from Outpatient Rehab

After stroke, about two-thirds of survivors receive some type of rehabilitation. Outpatient therapy may consist of Several types of therapy. Whether a patient is referred to inpatient or outpatient therapy depends on the level of medical care required.

What to Expect in Stroke Rehab

Following a stroke, about two-thirds of survivors receive some type rehabilitation. In this second of our two-part series, we want to alleviate some of the mystery, fear and anxiety around the inpatient rehab part of the stroke recovery journey.
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AHA-ASA Resources

The Support Network

When faced with challenges recovering from heart disease or stroke, it’s important to have emotional support. That is why we created a network to connect patients and loved ones with others during their journey.

Caregiver Guide to Stroke

The Caregiver Guide to Stroke is meant to help caregivers better navigate the recovery process and the financial and social implications of a stroke.

Stroke Support Group Finder

To find a group near you, simply enter your ZIP code and a mile radius. If your initial search does not pull up any groups, try

Tips for Daily Living Library

This volunteer-powered library gathers tips and ideas from stroke survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals all over the country who’ve created or discovered adaptive and often innovative ways to get things done!

Stroke Family Warmline

The Warmline connects stroke survivors and their families with an ASA team member who can provide support, helpful information or just a listening ear.

Let's Talk About Stroke Patient Information Sheets

Let's Talk About Stroke is a series of downloadable patient information sheets, created by the American Stroke Association, that presents information in a question-and-answer format that's brief, easy to follow and easy to read.

Request Free Stroke Information Packets

Fill out this online form to request free information about a variety of post-stroke topics.
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Stroke & Parts of the Brain

When Stroke Affects the Occipital Lobe

Our occipital lobe, the smallest of the four lobes of the cerebral cortex, controls how we visually interpret our world.

When Stroke Affects the Cerebellum

The cerebellum contains 80 percent of our neurons. Its job seems to be to make things better. We talked with neuroscientist Jeremy Schmahmann about how stroke affects the “little brain.”

When Stroke Affects the Parietal Lobe

The parietal lobe helps us make sense of sensory information, like where our bodies and body parts are in space, our sense of touch, and the part of our vision that deals with the location of objects.

When Stroke Affects the Frontal Lobe

Of the four lobes that make up the cerebral cortex, the frontal lobe is the largest. It plays a huge role in many of the functions that make us human — memory, language, movement, judgment, abstract thinking.

When Stroke Affects the Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe has several functions, mainly involved with memory, perception and language.

When Stroke Affects the Brain Stem

The brain stem serves as a bridge in the nervous system. It sits at the top of the spinal column in the center of the brain. When a stroke happens there, it can cause a few different deficits and, in the most severe cases, can lead to locked-in syndrome.

When Stroke Affects the Thalamus

The thalamus can be thought of as a "relay station," receiving signals from the brain’s outer regions (cerebral cortex), interpreting them, then sending them to other areas of the brain to complete their job.
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Stroke Notes

Stroke-related news you can use about new scientific findings, public policy, programs and resources.

Readers Room

Articles, poems and art submitted by stroke survivors and their loved ones.

Life Is Why

Everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. These stroke survivors, caregivers and others share their 'whys'. We'd love for you to share yours, too!

Everyday Survival

Practical tips and advice for day-to day living after stroke.

Life At The Curb

A unique perspective on survival by comedian and stroke survivor John Kawie.

Simple Cooking

Cooking at home can be a daunting task, but a rewarding one for your diet and lifestyle (and your wallet). Making small changes in your diet is important to your heart health. Here are simple, healthy and affordable recipes and cooking tips.

Helping Others Understand

Stroke affects people differently and many of the effects of stroke can be complicated. Helping friends and family understand how a stroke is affecting a survivor can help everyone involved.

Support Showcase

Our new department highlighting the good work being done by stroke support groups from around the nation. If you are part of a successful support group we should consider featuring, let us know!